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CHINESE ROCKET THAT FELL INTO THE MOON CARRYING A ‘SECRET OBJECT’

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A mysterious object crashed into the Moon last year, and scientists think they’ve finally figured out what it was.

On March 4, 2022, a piece of space junk hurtled towards the surface of our celestial companion, leaving behind not one but two craters – prompting speculation as to what exactly the manmade object was.

And now, in a paper published in the Planetary Science Journal, a team of researchers at the University of Arizona (UArizona) have offered “definitive proof” that it was a booster from a Chinese space rocket that had spent several years hurtling through space. Yes. Chines rocket.

But the most interesting part of all this? The defunct piece of spacecraft was apparently carrying a secret cargo.

Initially, based on its path through the sky, the UArizona team thought it was an errant SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster from a 2015 launch.

However, after analysing how precise light signals bounced off its surface, they later concluded that it was more likely to be a booster from a Chang’e 5-T1 – a Chinese rocket launched back in 2014 as part of China’s lunar exploration programme.

And yet, the Chinese space agency denied ownership, insisting that their rocket booster burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere upon re-entry.

But the US Space Command refuted this claim by revealing that the rocket’s third stage never re-entered the planet’s atmosphere.

From left: Chang’e 5-T1 on the launch pad at Xichang; its reentry capsule before the mission

Furthermore, two key pieces of evidence gathered by the UArizona researchers suggested that there was more to the object than just a simple abandoned rocket booster.

Firstly, the way it reflected light.

The paper’s lead author, Tanner Campbell, explained in a statement: “Something that’s been in space as long as this is subjected to forces from the Earth’s and the moon’s gravity and the light from the sun, so you would expect it to wobble a little bit, particularly when you consider that the rocket body is a big empty shell with a heavy engine on one side.

“But this was just tumbling end-over-end, in a very stable way.”

In other words, the rocket booster must have had some kind of counterweight to its two engines, each of which would have weighed around 545kg (1,200lbs) without fuel.

The stability with which the object rotated led Campbell and his colleagues to deduce that “there must have been something more mounted to [its] front”.

Secondly, the team were struck by the impact the booster left when it slammed into the Moon.

It created two craters, around 100ft (30.5 metres) apart, instead of one, which, according to Campbell was very unusual.

An image of the double crater taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

He pointed out that the craters left behind by Apollo rockets are either round, if the object came straight down, or oblong if it crashed down at a shallow angle.

“This is the first time we see a double crater,” he said. “We know that in the case of Chang’e 5 T1, its impact was almost straight down, and to get those two craters of about the same size, you need two roughly equal masses that are apart from each other.”

And yet, despite the rigour of their investigation, the UArizona team have been unable to identify what exactly this additional object was.

“We have no idea what it might have been – perhaps some extra support structure, or additional instrumentation, or something else,” Campbell admitted.

“We probably won’t ever know.”

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CITY TRAVELS AND ROPEWAYS THROUGH THE SKY

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Cable-suspended gondola (car) over a city sky

Can you imagine a future of ropeway commuter travel suspended above newly congestion-free cities?

City travels and ropeways through the sky is a story of Start-up Zip Infrastructure, Inc. And how it sees value in the “dead space” above roads and is developing the Zippar self-propelled ropeway as a next-generation transport system to leverage it.

It features EV-gondolas and ropes that are designed to be independent of each other, which means that curves and lane-branches can be freely installed anywhere.

A successful test of a 12-seater model vehicle on a demonstration line took place in 2023, and the system is expected to see practical use in 2025.

City travels and ropeways through the sky holds a very beautiful and convenient future for city commuting in ways that shows that good technological innovations would always ease life in our cities.

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THE ENGINEERING MARVEL OF CHESAPEAKE BAY BRIDGE-TUNNEL

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The engineering marvel of Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, officially Lucius J. Kellam, Jr. Bridge-Tunnel, always stands out, as a complex of trestles, artificial islands, tunnels, and bridges that runs across the entrance to Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, providing a vehicular roadway between the Norfolk–Hampton Roads area (southwest) and Cape Charles at the tip of the Delmarva Peninsula (northeast). It was begun in 1958 and completed in 1964.

The bridge-tunnel complex is 17.6 miles (28 km) long from shore to shore and consists mostly of low trestle bridges carrying a two-lane highway. Because of the importance of shipping in the bay, the crossing was sunk deep beneath the main shipping channels in tunnels at two points, each tunnel being more than 1 mile (1.6 km) long.

Four artificial islands, constructed in water averaging 40 feet (12 metres) in depth, provide portals by which the roadway enters the tunnels. Near the north end of the bridge-tunnel complex, flanking Fisherman Island off Cape Charles, two high-clearance bridges provide part of the crossing. These are part of what lends to the engineering marvel of Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

In 1995 construction began on a parallel bridge to accommodate increasing traffic demands; it opened to four-lane traffic on April 19, 1999. In 2017 the Parallel Thimble Shoal Tunnel Project broke ground on a new two-lane tunnel under Thimble Shoal Channel, connecting two of the artificial islands in parallel to the existing tunnel.

Scheduled for completion in 2024, the new tunnel will carry two lanes of traffic southbound, and the existing tunnel will be used to carry two lanes of traffic northbound. When completed, the engineering marvel of Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel will continue to amaze the engineering world.

Source: Britannica

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THE BEAST THAT WILL PLOUGH GAZA IN ISRAEL’S GROUND ASSAULT

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Israel is set to send in ‘the Teddy Bear’ the world’s most indestructible bulldozer to spearhead IDF’s invasion of Gaza and tackle its labyrinth of tunnels, booby-traps and sniper positions

As the Israeli army masses forces in preparation for a full-scale invasion of Gaza, its troops prepare to face a maze of narrow streets, vast tunnel networks, booby traps, and sniper positions.

In this urban environment, the D9R armoured bulldozer affectionately nicknamed Doobi or ‘Teddy Bear’, will be essential for a successful assault.

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A ground operation in the dense residential districts of the Palestinian enclave will require specialized equipment to clear the way for the 300 tanks and 173,000 soldiers massing on the border.

Should fighting break out, the Israeli-modified Caterpillar bulldozer will be used to detonate mines and improvised explosive devices and to demolish obstacles in the path.

With 15 tonnes of added armour and a reinforced blade, the D9R is almost impervious to guns or explosives and will play a key role in allowing infantry to advance safely.

The D9R armoured bulldozer, affectionately nicknamed Doobi or ‘Teddy Bear’, will be essential for a successful assault

In an urban warfare scenario, the D9R would be used to clear mines and explosives from the path of advancing ground troops and tanks

What is the D9R?

Nicknamed Doobi or ‘Teddy Bear’, the D9R is the latest generation of D9 armoured bulldozers which were first deployed by the Israeli Defense Force in the 1950s.

It is 26.2ft long x 13ft tall x 14.7ft wide (8m long x 4m tall x 4.5m wide) and weighs 62 tonnes.

The vehicle is equipped with a large front blade and rear ripper attachment for clearing obstacles and detonating explosives.

The armoured cockpit has room for a crew of two who are protected by bullet-proof glass against sniper and machine gun fire.

The D9R can also be equipped with a mounted machine gun, grenade launcher, or smoke projector.

Over 100 were deployed in the 2014 incursion Operation Cast Lead, a 22 day assault killing into Gaza by Israeli military forces. 

In 2018, the Israeli army revealed the D9R Panda, a remotely operated version of the vehicle. 

The D9R gets its nickname ‘the teddy bear’ from military slang for a bulldozer of any kind.

It can hold a crew of two soldiers in its armoured cockpit – a driver and a commander – where bullet-proof glass offers them protection against sniper and machine gun fire.

In 2015, the D9R was upgraded with ‘slat armour’ to offer the vehicle more protection against the rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) widely used by Hamas in previous conflicts.

Slat armour, also known as cage or bar armour, works by allowing the sensitive detonator tip of the rocket to pass through before deforming the explosive body so that it either does not detonate or is less effective.

At 26.2ft long x 13ft tall x 14.7ft wide (8m long x 4m tall x 4.5m wide) and weighing 62 tonnes, the D9R is an enormous piece of military equipment capable of carving through any obstacle in its path.

The D9R Dozer is powered by a Cat 3408C engine capable of producing 405 horsepower and pulling over 70 tonnes.

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Not only does this help the bulldozer plough through obstacles, but it also allows various infrastructure support roles such as digging trenches and building bridges or defensive structures.

The Teddy Bear can also be equipped with a mounted machine gun installation, grenade launcher, or smoke projector for additional combat capability.

In 2018, the Israeli army also began to deploy and operated the D9R Panda, a remotely operated version of the bulldozer for more hostile environments.

The cost of a D9R is unclear as the vehicles are bought directly from Caterpillar by the Israeli military and are later outfitted with their specialist armour.

However, the cost of a new Cat D9 bulldozer is at least $900,000 (£739,624) even before any additional upgrades have been made.

In response to the massacre of 1,300 Israelis by Hamas terrorists, the Israeli army has already pounded the 25-mile (45km) Gaza strip with over 6,000 bombs containing a total of 4,000 tonnes.

Palestinian authorities claim that 1,400 people have so far been killed by the Israeli bombardment, and today Israeli authorities ordered the evacuation of Northern Gaza in preparation for an assault.

With its reinforced blade and slat armour the Teddy Bear is almost entirely impervious to bullets and explosives

The specialist slat armour was added in 2015 as a specific counter to the rocket-propelled grenades frequently used by Hamas

The Israeli army announced that it has deployed the D9R Panda, a remote operated version of the armoured bulldozer for even more hostile environments

Israel is drawing on its huge military might – including thousands of tanks, warplanes and troops in a full-scale ground invasion of the enclave in response to a series of terrorist attacks which killed 1,300 Israelis

While Hamas is only believed to be in possession of around 10,000 rockets and cannot match the size or technological capacity of the Israeli army, the group’s fighters are still expected to offer bloody resistance.

Before reaching Hamas’ defensive strongholds, Israeli forces will have to breach a series of defensive lines including mines, mortar targets, anti-tank weaponry, and potentially suicide bombers.

Since 2007, Hamas are believed to have built as many as 1,370 tunnels beneath the enclave, forming a network of hundreds of miles in length nicknamed ‘the Gaza Metro’.

As part of 2008’s Operation Cast Lead, a large-scale incursion into Gaza, the Israeli army deployed 109 D9Rs which had a key role in demolishing buildings such as bunkers and tunnels.

During the most recent conflict in 2014, at least 66 Israeli soldiers and six civilians were killed in the fighting, while in Palestine the UN reported 2,133 people were killed of which 1,489 were civilians.

Given the current plans for a new assault into Gaza, the fighting this time will no doubt be bloody on both sides, with advanced technology such as the D9R playing a vital role for the Israeli forces. 

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